Following the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this past summer, Microsoft on Wednesday shared details regarding what’s next in line for its operating system.
The Windows 10 Creators Update, as it’s being called, will deliver a wealth of new features and improvements. As rumored earlier this month, Microsoft has given its core graphics application – Paint – a major facelift (and a new name, Paint 3D).
Microsoft General Manager, Megan Saunders, explained the goal of the new app is to make 3D creation as simple as taking a photo or video on your smartphone. She used a phone to 3D-scan a sandcastle and imported it into the app for manipulation. Microsoft has a new website, Remix3D.com, where users can upload and share original content.
The Creators update includes a variety of other important features, many of which Microsoft didn’t announce at the event. Here’s what we already know about:
- OneDrive File Placeholders: Windows 8.1 introduced “placeholder” files for OneDrive–files that appeared in File Explorer but were actually stored in the cloud and only downloaded when you needed them. Microsoft removed this feature in Windows 10, but an “on-demand sync” feature looks likely to arrive in Windows 10 to replace it.
- Blue Light: Windows 10 is getting a “Blue Light” feature, which works similarly to the venerable f.lux utility. Many operating systems have been adding this feature lately, including iOS with Night Shift and Android with Night Mode.
- Skype SMS Forwarding: Skype now supports SMS forwarding, allowing you to send and receive text messages from your computer, similar to iMessage on macOS. Unfortunately, this only works if you’re also using the Skype Preview app on a Windows 10 Phone.
- Improved Upgrading: When you uninstall built-in apps like Mail and Maps, they won’t automatically be reinstalled when you upgrade Windows. Windows will now respect your choice. You can always reinstall those apps from the Store, if you want them.
- A New Windows Defender Interface: Microsoft will be overhauling Windows Defender’s interface in the Creators Update, replacing the old desktop application with a modern “Universal Windows Platform” app that looks more at home on Windows 10.
- Gaming Tournaments: The Xbox app is gaining support for custom tournaments. Create a tournament and your friends can join it, playing on either Xbox One or Windows 10 PC if an Xbox Live-enabled game runs on both platforms.
- File Explorer Notifications: File Explorer is gaining a new “product education feature” that provides information about Windows features in your file manager. You can disable these notifications though, if you like.
- Microsoft Edge Improvements: Microsoft Edge now allows you to “snooze” tabs. Snooze a tab and it will close temporarily. Later, Cortana will pop up with a reminder telling you to check out that website again. It’s a way to remember websites for later without keeping the tabs open forever. Edge will also allow you to export your favorites to an HTML file.
- Improved PIN Login: When signing in with a numerical PIN, you don’t have to worry about pressing the Num Lock key. The PIN field will behave as if the Num Lock key is always enabled. No more fighting with Num Lock!
- Wi-Fi Control Improvements: When you disable Wi-Fi, you can configure it to automatically turn on in one hour, in four hours, or in one day. By default, it will be kept disabled until you manually re-enable it.
- Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10 Updates: The Windows Subsystem for Linux now supports Ubuntu 16.04. In the Anniversary Update, it only supports Ubuntu 14.04. Windows applications can also be launched from the Bash shell, too, making it more flexible.
- Action Center Improvements: Quick Action icons for quickly controlling settings have been improved. In addition, you’ll find volume and brightness sliders directly in the Action Center, making it easier to adjust these settings.
- More Interface Color Options: The Personalization screen now has a color picker, allowing you to choose any interface and window titlebar color. On the earlier versions of Windows 10, you can just select from a handful of available colors.
- “Pick Up Where I Left Off”, or “Flow”: Microsoft is working on a new Cortana feature that will prompt you to synchronize apps between your devices–for example, it could offer to open the tabs you have open on your phone when you sit down at a PC. It’s similar in concept to Apple’s Continuity feature, which works between iOS and macOS.